Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Last Incarnation: Book One of the Ascension by J. A. Giunta

Title: The Last Incarnation: Book One of the Ascension
Author: J. A. Giunta
Price: $17.95, paperback; $6.95, ebook
Genre: Fantasy
ISBN: 1-59113-680-6, paperback and ebook
Publisher: Book Locker
Point of Sale: Book Locker, Amazon: $17.95, Barnes and Noble: $15.95

In a time past, “tourners” prized their magic, sharing freely its knowledge as tournaments rewarded the most talented. Soon the matches turn into duels, where even the sharing ends, concealing any new magical discoveries. Many begin to die, giving the champion greater power by draining the challenger’s life force. People start to shun weaving magic and as the atrocities escalate, the common people retaliate.

During the final magical tournament, a challenger’s child kills the champion, turning the tables on senseless murder. In the human lands, Guardians now police the villages looking for “turners” (a twist on the word “tourners”). Their crime is “…one who changes or transforms what was once good into evil, their touch darkening the world all around.” Magic now incites terror and loathing.

From an early age, Barr displays remarkable “turner” skill. Reason for his father moving them to an isolated cabin outside of Alixhir’s city, away from the prying eyes of its people, though mostly the Guardian’s notice. His father’s death has him living in Sylvannis, a closeted elven community.

A highly respected hunter, Tuvrin adopts Barr and teaches him to hunt, while a fellow elf, Seltruin schools the boy in becoming an Illumin Valar; learning the healing and protection magic of a Sage. This does not stop the other citizens from shunning Barr. Yet, he’s gifted with a war hound and a hawk as companions and protection; a lofty bequest for a human. Barr quickly excels in his training, surprising his teachers. Although, he keeps quiet about the “day dreams”, fearing rebuke from those he has come to trust and love.

With an inviting story line, and an honest, solid cast, “The Last Incarnation: Book One of the Ascension” will enthrall young adult and adult readers, alike. Mr. Guinta’s story pulls the reader into a pictorial world filled with customary fantasy characters: shape-shifters, fey folks, and other mythical beings. Though a far richer, more intricate world develops from within the supporting secondary stories, revealed through snippets of Barr’s dreams, histories told by the elves, and private ponderings of his travel companions.

Unshakable prejudices, treachery, broken loyalties, even a little romance to stir the heart, keeps the reader engaged. Ceiran, an esteemed member of the governing council, accuses Barr of killing an elven guard. He must defend his innocence by defeating, and then killing his accuser. When Barr refuses to complete the ritualistic slaughter, he is casted out from the elven community. Leaving behind his only family and a woman who sparked his interest, Barr begins his journey of self-discovery and finding his father’s murderer.

In another realm, Daesidaoli scolds her mother for interfering with her son’s destiny. The Seeress warned them that any intervening act could alter the young man’s course, whether the prophecy comes true to not. No matter, as Arianaolis intends to give her grandson the bracelet, Aislin, believing it will provide protection; though hopes it will lead him back home.

“The Last Incarnation” also contains tasteful illustrations that support the coming chapter’s essence; as its cover art properly symbolizes the book’s core. It is an enjoyable story, opening a three book series, that will delight fantasy lovers.


Reviewed by: In August of 2006, Pamela broke into book review writing with Erotic Escapades, but writes for The Erotic Bookworm, The Muse Book Reviews, Romance At Heart, and now POD People. Her own web site, Chewing the Bone exhibits book reviews in multilple genres, including children and young adult fiction. With all that she has going on Pamela finds time to dabble in flash-fic writing. Although, she doesn't aspire in becoming a published novelist, because it would take valuable time away from her first love... reading.

1 comment:

J.A. Giunta said...

Thank you for the review, Pamela! I appreciate all your effort, and I'm glad you enjoyed the read.

I just wanted to point out, to anyone interested, that the second book in the trilogy is currently under revision. If anyone read the first book and was looking to read the second, please hold off on ordering it until I've finished revising. I'll post a notice on my website when it's completed and sent to the printer.